Better Than Restaurant Falafel (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Better Than Restaurant Falafel! MinimalistBaker.com

I’ve been waiting patiently to share this recipe with you guys and I can’t take it any longer. On a total whim, I somehow crafted a falafel recipe that’s better than any version you’ve likely had at a restaurant. Unless it was in Greece, then I’ll give you a pass. But the best part? It’s vegan, gluten free, and chock full of healthy ingredients.

Collard Greens

I started with collard greens, a green I was completely unfamiliar with prior to this recipe. Next I added in chickpeas, sea salt, pepper, garlic, fresh lemon juice and tahini. The funny thing is, I was aiming for more of a “veggie fritter” but one bite in and I knew it was falafel heaven all the way.

Better Than Restaurant FalafelCollard Green Tahini Falafel | Vegan Gluten Free

As always, ingredients are simple and to the point and minimal equipment is required: food processor and one pan. They also come together in about 30 minutes. Hello easy, healthy weeknight meal.

Gluten Free Vegan Falafel

I made up one big batch last week and I’ve been having one or two here and there as a quick snack or easy lunch. I’m gluten free right now for a cleanse I’m doing (a story for another day), but these would go fabulous tucked inside fluffy pita with lettuce, tomato and a creamy garlic sauce. I just know it. Otherwise, they’re fantastic on their own with just a spot of hummus.

Healthy Falafel RecipeBetter Than Restaurant Falafel!

These little guys are amazing, and I don’t use that word lightly! I am so surprised at how healthy and simple they are, yet how packed with flavor they are. They are crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender on the inside, and loaded with bursts of lemon, garlic and tahini in each bite. I highly recommend serving these with freshly made hummus – my favorite homemade recipe – or they’re delicious on their own. Simply don’t pass up this recipe! It’s one of my most proud kitchen accomplishments to date.

Vegan Gluten Free FalafelHealthy Falafel! vegan, gluten free with Collard Greens

4.4 from 27 reviews

Better Than Restaurant Falafel (Vegan & Gluten Free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Falafel that can rival any restaurant, although it remains vegan, gluten free and pan-cooked, not fried.
Author:
Recipe type: Entre
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups stemmed and torn collard greens (one bunch), or swiss chard
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium to large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp oat flour (ground from gluten free oats)
  • ~ 4 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Add collard greens, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and a healthy pinch each salt and pepper to a food processor and mix to combine (see photo).
  2. Once well incorporated, transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in oat flour 1 Tbsp at a time until the mixture is thick enough to handle – about 3-4 Tbsp.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more salt, pepper and lemon juice, and a touch more tahini.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp oil at a time. Swirl to coat pan.
  5. Add 4 falafel (or however many will fit very comfortably) to the pan at a time.
  6. Check at the 1-2 minute mark to ensure they’re not browning too quickly. If they are, slightly reduce heat. Flip once deep golden brown – about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Cook until the underside is golden brown as well.
  8. Serve immediately with hummus and paprika, or inside a pita with garlic sauce or hummus.
  9. Will store in the fridge, layered with parchment paper in an airtight container, for several days. Freeze to keep longer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 falafel Calories: 154 Fat: 7 g Carbohydrates: 17 g Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 50 mg Fiber: 5 g Protein: 5 g

Nutrition is a rough estimate for one falafel.
Adapted from Real Simple.
 

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Comments

  1. says

    You had me at falafel. Seriously, you could have just posted a picture and said the word falafel and I would still be dying to try this!

  2. says

    We are infatuated with collard greens over here as of late, so I love the addition of collards in this recipe! Also, Chris has a MAJOR thing for falafel. :)

  3. says

    These look delicious! I’ve wanted to make falafel for awhile now, but most of the recipes I find are complicated and/or involve deep frying of some sort. This version seems like the perfect beginning of a falafel making adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  4. says

    I keep seeing all these amazing falafel recipes lately, and then being sad because our lack of food processor makes grinding all those chickpeas a serious challenge. Maybe it’s time to actually get one… :) These look so good–I would never have thought to add collards to falafel!

  5. Ashley Naomi says

    SO YUMMY! I just made this for lunch! I didn’t have tahini or collard greens so I used spinach instead and added chilli! Will be adding this to my staple weekly meals! Thankyou x

  6. says

    I do love falafel, but I especially love how much good stuff you’ve managed to pack into these! Good luck with that cleanse, Dana – if these are on the approved eating list, it might be just about the only cleanse I could ever hope to make it all the way through!

  7. says

    Made these along with your hummus tonight — so so so good! Best hummus recipe I’ve ever had/used — & the falafel were to die for. I will say I did have to add a tad bit more flour (I used Chickpea flour) but other than that everything was spot on!

  8. says

    Holy balls. These are sooooooooooo good! Simple to make, fast to put together and are just delicious. I used spinach, lime juice and gluten free all purpose flour. I’m also confident that this would make an A-grade hummus if the flour is nixed. I’m in love. Thank you for sharing!

  9. says

    Your nutritional info says per falafel but I think (by my calculations) that’s per serving. I got 12 falafels out of the recipe so the nutritional value you have posted should be per 3 falafels? Either way, I’m still really excited to make these again. The boyfriend gave them a 10/10! (That never happens – he’s a meat and potato kinda guy)

  10. Tatiane says

    Hi, could you say how much grams or kl is in “1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas”?
    I’m brazilian and we don’t buy chickpeas in can so I’m having difficult to convert…
    Thanks

        • Alisha says

          Keep in mind though that 425 grams of dried chickpeas is going to be a different quantity than 425 grams of canned chickpeas. If you’re buying them dried then go with 425 grams, soak them and then weigh out 425 grams again when they’ve absorbed the water. You’ll have leftovers.

  11. Jeni says

    My husband is falafel OBSESSED… and he was floored (as was I). :) So easy and tasty!! And the collard greens were a nice change up. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. Elizabeth says

    I have never had a more satisfying and moist falafel EVER! I love falafels but have always had a hit or miss relationship with the places I go to get pitas at because they’re usually too dry, but these were just right! AND VEGAN!!! :D I used spinach instead of collard greens and berbere instead of cumin, added a pinch of fennel and extra lemon. So darn delicious! I can’t wait to make these again and play with the recipe as I go. For everyone else that has already made these, how did you get the sides/edges browned? I like my falafels larger than average so I had a hard time getting the sides browned as well. Also, the insides didn’t cook all the way through (which I kind of liked because the moister the better for me), but I’m afraid they won’t last as long in the fridge because they’re not completely cooked. I’m thinking of lightly browning them in a pan then throwing them all in the oven for a little next go round. Any advice?

    Thanks for this awesome recipe! Much love! :)

  13. says

    I just made this falafel recipe and it was really yummy! The collard greens gave the falafel a mild, spicy flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  14. Connie says

    Last time I made falafel I subbed kale because I didn’t have parsely. I liked them must better with the kale.

  15. Bonnie says

    Made these yesterday because I was craving falafel after a month-long trip around Europe. You said they were amazingly better. They weren’t. They didn’t taste like falafel. The texture was off. I tried refrigerating the mixture before cooking, but that didn’t help… These aren’t falafel, but are veggie fritters. And I’m annoyed, too, that these were rated five-stars by people who didn’t even make them.

    • Elizabeth says

      lol y so mad tho? Sorry we’re not all as privileged as you were to go to Europe and have them made for us there. But yes, in comparison to gyro and middle eastern eateries out here, these were and still are some pretty top notch falafels (actually about to make these again for the 4th time). Take your attitude somewhere else…actually, back to Europe.

      *still rating this recipe a 5 too

    • Shauna says

      I COMPLETELY 100% agree that the 5 star ratings by people who haven’t even tried this is extremely frustrating. I chose to make this recipe for dinner tonight based on the high star rating, before actually going through the reviews to make sure they were legit. Note to everyone: don’t rate something just because it SOUNDS good…rate because you tried and it WAS good. Thank you. That being said, I am still excited to try these for dinner tonight.

  16. says

    My daughter has only been gluten free for about two weeks. We tried this recipe last night and it was excellent. We actually substituted kale which required us to add a little water but we were happy with the result which we had with homemade tzatziki sauce. Thank you. :)

  17. Donna says

    I just made this but with kale and rice flour. Tasted ok but didn’t hold together well, fell apart as I tried to eat it! I think it needs more spices

  18. Catherine says

    Very good flavour! Should they be very soft to eat? The browning was fine but the texture throughout was really soft. Delicious though…

  19. Kyle says

    Maybe I made them incorrectly, but unfortunately these were not good at all. they just tasted like fried collared greens and not like a falafel at all. they were also very mushy, which was okay but could not get past the taste :( the hummus was good though..

  20. Allison says

    Soooo yummy! I was just telling my boyfriend today that I was craving a falafel burger but I’ve recently found out that I’m allergic to gluten… Thank you so much for this recipe! Satisfied my craving and then some :)

  21. Karin says

    They look lovely! Is that 15.5 oz drained or undrained? The chickpeas I mean? I’m going to attempt these(but with kale instead) tomorrow but as we don’t have the same size cabs here in Sweden, or the same measuring system, I’ll have to do some maths first! :-)

      • Karin says

        Yes, of course it is! Don’t know how I could miss that :-) thank you for the reply anyway! By the way, I’ve got a batch of black bean brownies in the oven right now and I can’t wait to try them! :-D

  22. Bridgett says

    I just wanted to say thank you for giving us a healthy option of falafel…It is absolutely delicious! adding cilantro and spring onions or red onions will also boost up the flavor a bit as well! I did want to give a tip to others out there that may have the same problem as me with browning…3/4 of my 1st batch were burnt within 2 minutes using the med-high setting as indicated above and even after lowering it to medium. I have an electric maytag stove and the perfect setting for this was 4, which is 2 settings below medium. They turned out perfect after that! you can also pop them in the oven at about 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes after browning or w/o browning =)

    • says

      Thanks so much for the comment, Bridgett! I’ve cooked this recipe in several different kitchens and all oven tops and skillets seem to cook differently! So thanks for these tips as well as sharing your experience in baking them. So helpful!

  23. Heather says

    Hi there, just a a quick question! ..If I don’t have oat flour, what other kinds can I use? Right now, in my cupboard, I have whole-wheat flour and all-purpose unbleached flour and I think some bread flour. Thanks!

  24. Marz says

    I’ve just made them and while frying they were falling apart so I transferred them to the oven. I wonder if anyone else had this problem? I’m thinking what I did wrong. Maybe too much tahini or too much oil?

  25. says

    Just made these, so DAMN good!!!!! Made some spicy hummus and threw the falafel on a gluten free wrap, hummus and fresh coleslaw mix (no dressing) by far one of the best meals i have ever cooked myself! can’t wait to wow friends with it!!!! thanks.

  26. Vendela says

    This recipe seems awesome. I have one question though, and I don’t know how stupid it is and if I need to ask it because my native language is not English and/or because I am tired and/or because I am relatively new at cooking. But I can’t make sense of these steps:

    4. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add 2 msk oil at a time. Swirl to coat pan.
    5. Add 4 falafel (or however many will fit very comfortably) to the pan at a time.

    What am I supposed to do with the skillet really? Only add oil to it when there is no falafel in it or is it implied that I am putting the falafel in it too? How many falafel “bits” am I supposed to do and when? Before the pan or the skillet?

    Thanks for reading this! I feel like my question is ridiculous…
    /Vendela

      • says

        Sounds like you figured it out! Let me know if you have any more questions, Vendela!! P.S. I visited Orebro, Sweden earlier this year and LOVED it. Beautiful country you live in!

        • Vendela says

          Hi again,

          thanks for the reply! It’s not the measurement standard that is the problem, however, but I don’t know what to do with the skillet and the pan as I wrote above – are those the same thing? :P

          Glad to hear you like Sweden, it’s a bit dark at this time of the year – hopefully it will snow soon :)

  27. Laurie says

    I made these and had trouble keeping them from crumbling in the frying pan. I know they are meant to be vegan, but i think an egg would have helped a lot.

    • says

      Laurie, they are definitely tender and take some careful handling so yes, an egg would help. I opted not to keep them vegan. But baking them in the oven (perhaps 10-15 min at 400 F) may help keep them from crumbling. Hope that helps!

  28. says

    I made these yesterday for a family get-together. The only thing I changed about the recipe was that, having doubled it, I decided to use the oven rather than pan-fry. That part worked great, though it took them a little longer than I expected. Something that surprised me was that they tasted best as “dough”, and that before adding any oat flour. Once cooked, I felt they had taken on a little bitterness, which is odd. Well, never mind. They were still good enough to eat. The husband had made a super spicy raw tomato and bread crumb sauce for some potato tapas which went great with these, plus some tahini sauce.

  29. Lindsay Lucarlli says

    I didn’t have Swiss chard or collard greens, so I used kale. I also added a teaspoon of chopped garlic and 1/4 tsp of coriander.

  30. Jennifer says

    I just made these, and the flavor is fantastic. One BIG word of caution – DO NOT OVER PROCESS! I made the mistake of pureeing the mix before adding the flour and ended up having to use 1 CUP of oat flour just to handle them. I also ended up using more oil than I needed to just to get them to crisp up (which they did, beautifully). I also finished them in a 400 degree oven for 9 minutes just to cook the flour all the way through. This of course meant that the seasonings needed to be upped as well, so more salt and cumin were added to the batter. Other than my rookie mistake, these are really delicious and I will try them again once this batch is finished.

  31. Dominique says

    Hi Im planning to use j this recipe over the weekend and just raised I have dried chick peas rather than canned and was wondering what the weight of the chickpeas was once they were rinsed and drained? I can’t find any chickpeas that are canned that are the same weight as the ones used in the recipe.
    Thanks for your help

    • says

      Dominique, excellent question! I speculate that the weight is roughly 12 ounces post draining. The good thing is this recipe is fairly forgiving, so it shouldn’t matter too much if you’re an ounce off. Hope that helps!

  32. says

    I just tried this with you hummus recipe. I love the hummus and am in like with the falafel. I think I over processed the mixture my Cuisinart because I had to use way more flour than what was instructed. I cooked them way longer because I couldn’t seem to get the middles cooked through. I think I’ll try again in the oven though because I am close to making it work out. Thank you for the cool recipes. I never thought to add collard greens (Or greens of any type). And I love the parsley addition to the hummus.

  33. mireaux says

    I just made these tonight and ate them in lettuce wraps with smoked tomato basil hummus and tomato. I haven’t cooked something good for myself in so long and it was a real treat. Thank you very much!

  34. Tessa says

    Made this last night and it was delicious. I was worried that the collard flavor would be too strong but it wasn’t. Served it with a lightened up tahini sauce from oh she glows. I used soaked dry chickpeas instead of canned. Used quick soad method of 1 minute boiling and then left them for 8 hours.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Nice! I’ve been experimenting with a cashew based garlic sauce that I think would be great on these little dudes. Will share soon! Thanks for sharing your experience, Tessa!

  35. Amy Greenlaw says

    Hello,
    I tried making these and they didn’t cook all the way through and the whole house was starting to smoke when cooking them.
    Also I used brown rice flour.

    Do you think I could bake them to get the middle’s cooked?

    Thanks,
    Amy

    • says

      Amy, I’m not certain but brown rice flour might be the culprit. Next time, since you had trouble mainly in the cooking process, I would suggest baking these at 375 for 20-25 minutes and flipping once halfway through. This should help!

  36. Amanda says

    These look great! I can’t wait to try them =) Recipe says it makes 4 servings, and nutrition says 1 falafel is about 154 calories….Should it be 1 serving (3 falafels) is 154 calories?

    • Dana Shultz says

      Amanda, sorry for any confusion. Yes, it serves 4 people, but each falafel has about 154 calories. Hope that helps!

  37. Taylor says

    These are great! I love that they are so simple and easy to make. I had a ton of beet greens laying around after making your vegan lava cakes (!!!) for v-day and this was the perfect recipe to use them up!

  38. B.P. says

    I loved the use of collard greens. We use spinach, carrots and zucchini in our felafels usually, just salt a little to get the veggies to give up their water. I have read a lot of recipies lately and I am wondering why people are using grain flours instead of besan, aka chickpea flour, my nanous would twist my ear for adding anything but besan. Its gluten free after all.

  39. Stacie says

    I promised to stalk you and here I am… Laying in bed, stuffed full of falafel and hummus (and black bean brownie – had to make a new batch because I gave them all away!) I gave up making my own hummus because I couldn’t find a decent recipe. This hummus recipe is perfect for me. Love it. Now, I can’t say I’ve ever had a falafel before, or at least it wasn’t memorable, so I have no falafel experience for comparison. I can say that I devoured these scrumptious greenies up like someone was going to steal them… No joke, I stopped to breathe only once. Clearly I MUST continue to stalk you. ;)

  40. says

    I made these tonight and they were excellant!

    I did not have any oats on hand to grind so I just used regular flour and I did not have an Tahini so I use a bit of egg. I followed all the other directions/ingrediants and I loved them! I made a taziki sauce and we had them in a pita with lettuce and tomato! So yummy!

    xo Jennifer

  41. Sophie says

    Hi there,
    I couldn’t find any collard greens or chard so used kale instead. Totally scrumptious thank you for the delicious recipe !!

    • Dana Shultz says

      It may affect the flavor and it will require a little less than the suggested amount, but yes! I think it would work!

  42. Gizem says

    I usually use your recipes. They always work good !

    but,
    am I wrong or you really did not cooked chickpeas? Only soaking does not sound logical to me. Could you please make it clear?

    • Dana Shultz says

      Yes! They were cooked! I used canned chickpeas, but if you’re using dry make sure to cook them first!

  43. Rayca says

    Funny, people talking about rating system and soft on inside. Soft on inside is just what I’m looking for. Crunchy or hard on outside. I don’t care if they’re fritters. Those are good too. I rate recipes on the ingredients and my perception of how it will turn out. I then come back and give my review after I’ve tried it, giving suggestions that I may have tried. Guess I’m doing that wrong. Having said that, I’m giving 5 stars cuz I’m a good enough cook to know how they will taste and turn out.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Thanks Rayca! And thanks for your insights, too. Super helpful. Appreciate the honest review and so glad it turned out for you! Cheers.

  44. Christina says

    I’m not sure what I missed here. Maybe it’s because I don’t normally eat vegan, but these did not taste good to me. I even liked the puree well enough raw (though I found nearly overwhelmed by the collard greens), but once it was cooked, the falafel took on a bitter, alkaline flavor. So non-vegans, take note: this probably won’t work well for your palate.

  45. says

    I can’t get collard greens where I am, nor can I get lemons, so I used parsley instead of collard greens, and lime instead of lemon. Also, I started with dried garbanzos that I cooked and I used the water I cooked the garbanzos in to blend them with the rest of the ingredients. It did not turn out well. Next time perhaps I need to drain the water off and I think I will use chard instead of collard greens, and I will skip the citrus. I think if I had actually followed the recipe it would have been delicious. My version is two stars, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and rate this five stars.

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